Tuesday, July 10, 2012

505 India backs Human Rights vote against Sri Lanka; then UN asks it to withdraw from Kashmir. Bahrain, Hamas rights "no issue"

India backs Human Rights vote against Sri Lanka; then UN asks it to
withdraw from Kashmir. Bahrain, Hamas rights "no issue"

(1) Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson re-open old wounds, overlook
terrorist acts of Tamil Tigers
(2) World Federalists invoke R2P over Sri Lanka
(3) Tamil party threatened to quit Congress government of India over
Lanka vote
(4) Communist Party of India backs Tamils over Lanka
(5) India pushing for power-sharing between Lanka’s Sinhala and Tamil elites
(6) Tamil Tigers fabricated video footage - LTTE former media co-ordinator
(7) Reconsider stand, Sri Lanka tells India
(8) India should support Sri Lanka; it will find itself in the dock one
day - RSS
(9) UN Human Rights Council votes 24-15 against Sri Lanka; India joins West
(10) After Indria votes against Sri Lanka over Tamils, UN asks India to
withdraw from Kashmir
(11) UN asks India to withdraw its forces from occupied Kashmir
(12) Russia, China, Cuba & Asian states vote Against, brand the
resolution interference in Sri Lankan affairs
(13) Vote re-opens divisions; West handicapped the Sri Lanka gov't in
Tamil Tiger war, would have prolonged it
(14) Bahrain medics Show Trial not a Human Rights issue
(15) U.N. cancels appearance by Hamas leader in Geneva

(1) Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson re-open old wounds, overlook
terrorist acts of Tamil Tigers


Our duty to Sri Lanka, and human rights

It is not just Sri Lanka's people that the UN Human Rights Council must
serve this week, but the cause of international law

Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 26 February 2012 22.00 GMT

This week the UN Human Rights Council has an opportunity and a duty to
help Sri Lanka advance its own efforts on accountability and
reconciliation. Both are essential if a lasting peace is to be achieved.
In doing so, the council will not only be serving Sri Lanka, but those
worldwide who believe there are universal rights and international legal
obligations we all share.

Nearly three years since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) by the Sri Lankan government there has still been no
serious domestic investigation of the many allegations of war crimes and
crimes against humanity committed by both sides during the civil war's
final stages. These tragic events cannot simply be ignored.

A report in April 2011 by a panel of experts appointed by the UN
secretary general documented government forces' large-scale shelling in
"no-fire zones" where civilians had been encouraged to gather.
Government forces also shelled a UN hub and food distribution lines. The
same report says the LTTE used civilians as human shields, refused to
allow people to leave conflict areas and forcibly recruited adults and
children as young as 14 to fight. Credible sources cited in the UN
report have estimated that around 40,000 civilians may have perished in
the final months of the conflict. ...

• Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Irish President Mary Robinson are
members of The Elders, global leaders working for peace and human rights


[...] Candidly

27 February 2012 2:09AM

For me, it's worrying that Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson focus on
allegations of crimes committed during the final months of the war in
Sri Lanka, but are totally silent about the much better documented
allegations during the previous 30 years when the LTTE were in the

Inevitably this creates the impression that they are biased and believe
the elected government of Sri Lanka should be investigated for its
actions in winning the war and establishing peace, while the terrorist
LTTE should escape investigation for its 30 years of terrorism. If
Desmond Tutu or Mary Robinson had been born as Sri Lankan Tamils they
would have been murdered long ago by the LTTE because of their views on
democracy and peace. Would one expect that it would be those who
recently apprehended their murderers who would be investigated for war
crimes, rather than those who carried out the murders years ago?

It seems that being an elder doesn't necessarily require a sense of
proportion or wisdom.

(2) World Federalists invoke R2P over Sri Lanka


Crisis in Sri Lanka

I. Background
II. Escalation of Violence in 2009III. Civil Society Calls for Action
IV. Response by the International Community
V. Post-Conflict Accountability

I. Background

The violent civil war in Sri Lanka over the past 25 years has killed
more than 100,000 and caused enormous amounts of suffering to both Tamil
and Sinhalese civilians. The intensification of violence since the start
of 2009, leading up to the end of the 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka
resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis. By mid-May, the UN estimated
that 7000 civilians, with more than 1000 of them children, died in the
escalation of hostilities in 2009. As the death toll intensified in the
days leading up to the official end of the conflict on 19 May 2009, UN
officials condemned the “bloodbath” and repeatedly expressed grave
concern over the “unacceptably high” civilian death toll. In addition,
50,000 civilians were trapped in combat zones. According to estimates by
the UNHCR, as of 19 June 2009, 550,000 ethnic Tamils remained internally
displaced and struggled to come to terms with the devastation of war.

II. Escalation of Violence in 2009

The escalation of violence in 2008-2009 raised alarming concerns about
the failure of the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to protect
civilians from serious crimes under international law.

Reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch detail the
LTTE forces preventing civilians from fleeing the conflict zone, putting
civilians at unnecessary risk, displacing civilians and forcibly
recruiting child soldiers. According to the UN, the LTTE has been using
civilians as a buffer against government forces, forcibly recruiting
civilians and holding men, women and children as hostages and using them
as human shields.

The government of Sri Lanka used heavy artillery in densely populated
areas, including in “no-fire zones,” and targeted civilian
infrastructure, resulting in indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
Moreover, the government has denied humanitarian agencies and aid
workers access to trapped civilians, exacerbating the suffering of the
civilians. In addition, internally displaced Sri Lankans have been held
without freedom of movement in government-run displacement camps; their
fate continues to be murky, as the Sri Lanka government has made little
effort in their rehabilitation and plans to reunite them with their
families or return them to their homes.

III. Civil Society Calls for Action

The failure of the government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its primary
responsibility to protect its populations from mass human rights
violations and widespread killings prompted many advocates to consider
the crisis in Sri Lanka an RtoP situation, especially given the
alarmingly high death toll.

An open letter to the Security Council, sent by the Global Center for
the Responsibility to Protect on 11 April 2009, signed by Jan Egeland,
Gareth Evans, Juan Méndez, Mohamed Sahnoun, Monica Serrano, Ramesh
Thakur and Thomas G. Weiss, invoked the Responsibility to Protect norm
and called on the Security Council to “authorize ‘timely and decisive
measures’ to prevent or halt mass atrocities”, among a series of
recommended measures.

On 22 April 2009, James Traub, the director of the Global Center for the
Responsibility to Protect, wrote in a op-ed for the Washington Post
that, “the fighting threatens to produce exactly the kind of cataclysm
that states vowed to prevent when they adopted "the responsibility to
protect" at the 2005 U.N. World Summit,” and urged the United Nations to
act. That same day, a joint letter by NGOs including Global Action to
Prevent War, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect,
International Crisis Group, MEDACT, Minority Rights Group, Operation
USA, Tearfund and World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global
Policy, urged UN action to “protect civilians and prevent mass atrocities”.

On 8 May 2009, The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, one of India’s
largest human rights organizations, in a letter addressed to the United
Nations, invoked the “Responsibility to Protect” and called for UN
military intervention. They also urged for a referral by the UN Security
Council for the International Criminal Court to investigate Sri Lanka’s
alleged war crimes.

On 11 May 2009, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch Brad Adams sent a
letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urging the IMF to deny
Sri Lanka’s request for a 1.9 billion emergency relief fund. Mr. Adams
cited the LTTE’s recent actions as “inhumane to an extreme” and stated
that the Sri Lankan government continues to disregard its obligations
under international law to protect civilians, despite its repeated
claims otherwise. Top shareholders of the IMF, including the United
States, have also exerted pressure over the IMF to delay the loan and
have been successful to date.

Also on 11 May 2009, International Crisis Group, Amnesty International,
Human Rights Watch, and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to
Protect signed a letter that was sent to Japanese Prime Minister Taro
Aso. The letter also encouraged Japan to use its leverage as Sri Lanka’s
largest donor and a current UN Security Council member to play a more
active role in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka.

In addition, Amnesty International, in a letter addressed to the
Security Council on 14 May 2009, reminded the Council that it had
“repeatedly emphasized the need to protect civilians and confirmed the
international community’s responsibility to protect,” as such; it could
“no longer remain silent about the humanitarian and human crisis in Sri
Lanka.” It urged the Council to convene to discuss the latest
developments, gain access to carry out humanitarian work, ensure the
protection of civilians in armed conflict, establish an inquiry
commission on alleged human rights and international humanitarian law
violations as well as to seek the Sri Lankan government’s cooperation to
allow a UN humanitarian assessment mission to the conflict area.

On 19 May 2009, a joint statement by 165 NGOs all over the world, 122 of
them from Malaysia, called for the protection displaced peoples,
civilians and human rights in Sri Lanka. In addition, on 23 May 2009,
International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism
(IMADR), a Japanese-based NGO, expressed regret that the conflict in Sri
Lanka was not solved through peaceful means and highlighted the vital
need for an investigation into war crimes and violations of
international humanitarian law committed by all parties in the conflict,
calling in particular for a “independent investigation into the recent
carnage.” IMADR also called for full access for international
humanitarian agencies and urged to incorporate a political framework in
the rebuilding process that would respect the rights of minorities.

Forum-Asia issued a statement on 27 May 2009, at the Human Rights
Council’s Special Session on Sri Lanka, and underlined the critical need
to address the issue of access for humanitarian agencies as well as the
importance of an investigation to address the violations of human rights
and international humanitarian law for accountability and “truth and
reconciliation” in Sri Lanka.

IV. Response by the International Community

UN officials, including the Secretary-General, the
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as a number of Member States,
called on the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to make protecting
civilians a priority and to take all necessary measures to halt the
escalating humanitarian disaster. This, however, was to little effect,
according to HRW, “the Sri Lankan government has responded to broad
international concerns with indignation and denials instead of action to
address the humanitarian crisis”.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) called for a special session on 26 May
2009 to discuss the human rights violations in Sri Lanka. A
European-backed resolution was put forward, pushing for unfettered
access to detained civilians and an internal investigation of alleged
war crimes by both sides. However, a resolution proposed by Sri Lanka
won the votes of the majority. The resolution congratulated the Sri
Lankan government on its victory of the civil war and ignored human
rights concerns, making no mention of the high civilian death toll or
the fate of the hundreds and thousands of internally displaced people.
This turn of events has been viewed as a “disgrace” and “deeply
disappointing” by Voice Against Genocide and Human Rights Watch
respectively; many have also questioned the purpose and legitimacy of
the HRC in the wake of its failure with regards to Sri Lanka’s human
rights violations. Despite Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner for
Human Rights, assertions that investigating human rights abuses
committed by the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers is needed
for the country’s post conflict development process, the Human Rights
Council’s resolution made no mention of the commissioning of an inquiry.

The United Nations also failed to obtain timely access to the civilians
affected and displaced by the hostilities, despite appeals to the Sri
Lankan government, humanitarian aid groups were denied access to the
hundreds and thousands of displaced civilians weeks after the end of the
war. Presently, humanitarian access to the displacement camps continued
to be partially hindered.

V. Post-Conflict Accountability

a. Calls for action
Calls for an investigation into the deadly conflict began when Secretary
General Ban ki-Moon expressed his intent to appoint a panel of experts
in March 2010. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in a
statement released on 31 May 2010 called on the Sri Lanka government to
allow an international inquiry into the government's offensive against
the Tamil Tigers. ...

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
c/o World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
708 Third Avenue, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10017

(3) Tamil party threatened to quit Congress government of India over
Lanka vote


DMK was on the verge of quitting UPA Ministry


On Manmohan assurance, it cancels Tuesday's executive committee meeting
and Thursday's fast

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam revealed on Monday that it was on the
verge of pulling its Ministers out of the Congress-led United
Progressive Alliance government, but dropped the idea after Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh assured Parliament that India would vote in
favour of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights
Council (UNHRC).

DMK president M. Karunanidhi read out to reporters extracts from a
resolution prepared for consideration at a meeting of its high-level
executive committee scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the U.S.-sponsored
resolution. However, there was no need now to release it, he said.

Besides withdrawing its proposal to come out of the Union Cabinet and
instead offer the government issue-based support, the DMK called off
Tuesday's meeting and a State-wide fast it planned for Thursday to
demand that the Centre to back the resolution at the UNHRC.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Singh told Parliament that India was inclined to
vote for a resolution, if it covered India's objectives: “The
achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is
based on equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.”

“The high-level committee reiterates that the Indian government support
the resolution, taking into consideration not just the DMK's request but
also the aspirations of the entire Tamil community. If the Indian
government says it cannot support the resolution, the DMK has to
consider whether it should be part of the government when it is not even
possible to support a resolution against the Sri Lankan Army that was
responsible for the killing of over 40,000 Tamils. The meeting decides
that the DMK Ministers in the Union Cabinet will quit their posts, and
the DMK will be forced to offer only issue-based support to the
government,” Mr. Karunanidhi said, quoting from the resolution.

Expressing happiness at Dr. Singh's announcement, he said the Centre's
latest stand was a victory for the struggle in support of Sri Lankan
Tamils and those fighting for their cause.

(4) Communist Party of India backs Tamils over Lanka


CPI, AIADMK corner DMK in Rajya Sabha


Before recording of votes on amendment on Sri Lanka issue, Siva and
Kanimozhi leave House

The Communist Party of India, along with the All-India Anna Dravida
Munnetra Kazhagam, on Tuesday sought to corner the Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam in the Rajya Sabha, asking it to take a stand on an amendment
on the Sri Lankan Tamils' issue.

{The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the
Parliament of India}

The parliamentary manoeuvre — insisting on recording a vote — came after
these two parties expressed dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh's statement that the government was inclined to vote in favour of
the resolution, promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri
Lanka, at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

When the amendment moved by D. Raja (CPI) came up for vote, the DMK
under its leader Tiruchi Siva made attempts in vain to avoid a division
of votes even as B.S. Gnanadesikan (Congress) said Dr. Singh's assurance
in the Lok Sabha was welcomed by all political parties in Tamil Nadu

The CPI amendment regretted that the President's address to Parliament
did not mention the need for a political solution to the Tamils'
problems in Sri Lanka, and the issue of violation of human rights and
war crimes against the Tamils, particularly in the last phase of the war
in 2009. Nor did it take serious note of the continued attack on Indian
fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and the need to review the Kachatheevu

However, just before recording of votes, Mr. Siva along with party MP
Kanimozhi stepped out of the House, which rejected the amendment 81 to 9.

Earlier, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan asked Dr. Maitreyan not to wave
a copy of a compact disc which, the member said, contained video of “war
crimes” and the draft text at the UNHRC.

The Prime Minister, in his reply to the motion of thanks to the
President's address, reiterated his government's stand as articulated in
the Lok Sabha on Monday. He said India hoped to advance its objective of
achieving a future for Tamils in Sri Lanka “that is marked by equality,
dignity, justice and self-respect.”

(5) India pushing for power-sharing between Lanka’s Sinhala and Tamil elites


[...] The Obama administration is pushing the resolution as a means of
pressuring the Rajapakse government to accommodate US interests and
those of India, which has also been demanding the implementation of the
LLRC recommendations. New Delhi is pushing for a “political
solution”—that is, a power-sharing arrangement between the island’s
Sinhala and Tamil elites—to contain the anger in the southern Indian
state of Tamil Nadu over the treatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote to her Sri Lankan
counterpart in January, pointing out that the LLRC recommendations were
not being implemented. In February, US Undersecretary of State Maria
Otero and Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake visited Colombo.
Otero announced that President Rajapakse had been informed that
Washington planned to bring a resolution to the UNHRC session.

Washington, which backed Rajapakse’s war against the LTTE, is no more
concerned about human rights in Sri Lanka than in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Libya. For the Obama administration, the issue is a convenient device to
put pressure on Colombo to shift away from the closer diplomatic and
economic ties established with Beijing.

In May 2009, after the defeat of the LTTE, the US supported European
countries in putting a resolution to the UNHRC on human rights in Sri
Lanka. The resolution was defeated after Sri Lanka obtained the support
of China, Russia and India, as well as other countries.

(6) Tamil Tigers fabricated video footage - LTTE former media co-ordinator


LTTE fabricated videos on CH 4 - Daya Master

MONDAY, 19 MARCH 2012 22:19

The Tamil Tigers fabricated video footage to demonise Sri Lankan
military and distributed them among international media to gain
propaganda advantage, the now defunct LTTE's former media co-ordinator
has claimed.

Velayudam Dayanidhi alias Daya Master told state-owned ITN television
that fabricated footage produced in 2002 during the ceasefire with the
army was distributed internationally.

"The footage used by Channel 4 are those fabricated footage issued by
the LTTE," Daya Master said.

The British Channel 4 television telecast video footage titled 'Sri
Lanka killing fields 1 and 2' and 'Sri Lanka killing fields - war crimes
unpunished' which it alleged carry incriminating evidence of war crimes
committed by Lankan troops.

The government has dismissed the Channel 4 videos as fabrications.

On the allegation of LTTE chief V Prabakaran's 12-year- old son
Balachandran's killing by army in the latest Channel 4 video, Daya
Master said Balachandran was under tight protection of LTTE guards and
he may have been shot by LTTE guards when tried to flee.

The government has accused the Channel 4 of running a smear campaign
against Sri Lanka to coincide with the on going UN Human Rights Council
sessions in Geneva. (PTI)

(7) Reconsider stand, Sri Lanka tells India

NEW DELHI, March 21, 2012

Peiris calls up Krishna

As parties continued to raise the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in Parliament,
Colombo on Tuesday sought India's support in the United Nations Human
Rights Council in Geneva, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told
Parliament that India was inclined to vote for the U.S.-sponsored

Minutes before Dr. Singh rose in the Rajya Sabha to reiterate India's
position, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna received a call from
his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris from Geneva.

Mr. Peiris urged that India reconsider its stand, given the close ties
between the two countries, and said Colombo was hopeful of New Delhi's
support. Sources in the Ministry told The Hindu that during the
conversation, Mr. Krishna referred to India's suggestion that Sri Lanka
take steps to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Committee.

Expressing the hope that Sri Lanka would implement these measures, Mr.
Krishna said political parties in the country were voicing concern over
the issue and both countries should remain engaged. ...

(8) India should support Sri Lanka; it will find itself in the dock one
day - RSS


India should not support US on Lanka: RSS

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, March 18, 2012

First Published: 13:54 IST(18/3/2012)
Last Updated: 13:56 IST(18/3/2012)

Taking a stand at variance with that of the BJP, the RSS on Sunday said
India should not support the US-sponsored resolution in the UN against
the Sri Lankan government on alleged human rights violations, calling it
an attempt by the west to dictate to a democratic government. BJP has
been sympathetic to the resolution in the UN Human Rights Council and
has supported regional parties -- DMK and AIADMK -- in demanding that
the UPA government should make its stand clear on whether it would
support the move.

RSS, however, maintained India should take an "unequivocal stand"
against the US resolution.

"If India baulks today and adopts a 'neutral' position, it would find
itself in the dock one day. India by its geo-political position must
take a robust stand against the west interfering in issues not
concerning them directly. There is no case for the US or any European
nations to dictate to a democratically elected government," said an
editorial in the latest issue of RSS' mouthpiece 'Organiser'.

It adds that India should not support this attempt to humiliate it in a
world forum that "belongs as much to us as it does to the West".

Interestingly, the mouthpiece accuses LTTE of committing atrocities on
ethnic Tamils and appears to support the Mahinda Rajapakse government
which crushed the outfit. BJP has always spoken against the present Sri
Lankan regime on the issue.

"While accusing the Sri Lankan government of human rights violations,
one must remember that the enemy was not a hapless, unarmed group of
peaceful activists. The cadres of LTTE were armed to the teeth with the
latest machine guns, rocket launchers and tanks," the editorial said.

The Organiser further states that the last few weeks of the war that are
under scrutiny now witnessed a pitched battle in which both sides
"killed and got killed unrestrained".

"The number of child soldiers LTTE chief V Prabhakaran recruited and
trained has not been documented. Boys and girls were picked up at an
unsuspecting age, fed on a liberal dose of LTTE literature enumerating
the torture and humiliation of the Tamils by the Lankans and were
prepared to 'fight' on the command of the well-structured LTTE 'army',"
the editorial said.

This observation has come at a time when there are reports of a footage
showing Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son being shot brutally by the Sri
Lankan army.

A Parliamentary delegation led by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha
Sushma Swaraj and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu is slated to visit
Sri Lanka soon to take up the issue of atrocities against Tamils during
the last phase of the war with LTTE and the reported refusal to
rehabilitate Tamils.

The RSS mouthpiece does, however, support India taking up the issue and
insists that Sri Lankan government has the responsibility of
rehabilitating the victims of the civil war.

"The Tamils of Sri Lanka are citizens of that country. At best, India
has an interest and moral responsibility to speak for them, which India
has been doing all these decades. But it makes no case for anybody else
to intervene," Organiser said.

But the RSS is vehemently against the US resolution in the UN on Sri Lanka.

(9) UN Human Rights Council votes 24-15 against Sri Lanka; India joins West


UNHRC votes against Lanka's rights record; India joins West

PTI Mar 22, 2012, 06.30PM IST

GENEVA: Sri Lanka today faced a major embarrassment as the UN's top
human rights body adopted a resolution censuring it for alleged war
crimes in the conflict with LTTE as India joined the West in backing the
US-sponsored move.

In the 47-member UN Human Rights Council, 24 countries, including India,
voted for the resolution and 15 against it, while eight nations abstained.

India, which normally does not vote on nation-specific resolutions, made
a last-minute departure in the current instance after overwhelming
pressure from parties in Tamil Nadu, especially the DMK which had even
considered pulling out its ministers from the government at the Centre,
to vote against Sri Lanka.

Interestingly, India's neighbours like China, Pakistan and Bangladesh,
voted against the motion. Maldives said the resolution was not necessary
and Sri Lanka should be given time to implement the recommendations of
the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

The vote came after a spirited opposition from Sri Lankan plantation
industries minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who said no one from outside
could dictate to his country about human rights.

The resolution asked the government to explain how it would address the
alleged violations of international humanitarian laws and how it would
implement the recommendations of the LLRC.

It also encouraged the UN human rights office to offer Sri Lanka advice
and assistance and the government to accept it.

Explaining its position on its vote for the resolution, India said it
believes the primary responsibility for promotion and protection of
human rights lies with the states.

It said while it subscribes to the broader message of the resolution and
the objectives it promotes, it also underlined that any assistance from
the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights or visits of UN
Special Procedures should be in consultation with the Sri Lankan government.

"These are norms which all of us in the council subscribe to. A
democratic country like Sri Lanka has to be provided time and space to
achieve the objectives of reconciliation and peace," the explanatory
note said.

In the council, India said, everyone has the responsibility to ensure
that "our conclusions do contribute to this objective rather than hinder

India also urged the Sri Lankan government to take forward the process
of broader dialogue and show concrete movement towards a meaningful
devolution of powers, including the implementation of the 13th Amendment
and beyond.

"We would also urge that Sri Lanka takes forward the measures for
accountability and to promote human rights that it has committed to. It
is these steps, more than anything we declare in this council, which
would bring about genuine reconciliation between all the communities of
Sri Lanka, including the minority Tamil community," it said.

India said the UN council has also been briefed by the government of Sri
Lanka in this session on the series of steps taken to implement the
report and other measures.

"We welcome these steps. We are confident that implementation of the
report will foster genuine reconciliation," it said.

Noting that it cannot remain untouched by developments in Sri Lanka,
India said it will continue to remain engaged with the country to take
forward the process of reconciliation to secure for all its citizens a
future marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.

Flanked by Sri Lankan foreign minister GL Pieris and senior Tamil leader
and minister Douglas Devananda, Samarasinghe rejected outrightly the
US-sponsored resolution terming it as "misconceived, unwarranted and

Contending that stability and peace had been achieved in the island
nation after the end of the decades-old conflict in May 2009, he told
the council that Sri Lanka should be given time to "further consolidate"
the progress achieved.

He said the resolution embodies "several harmful elements that clearly
violate important principles that will have adverse ramifications not
only for my country but for many other countries in the future."
Reiterating Sri Lanka's stand that a resolution to the Tamil question
can be found only inside the country, Samarasinghe said the resolution
also runs counter to the principle of international law that "domestic
remedies" must be exhausted and should be the first resort prior to
"super imposing" external mechanism.

"Situation in the country does not warrant attention and criticism in
this resolution. We are justified in asserting that we require time to
realise comprehensive reconciliation," he asserted. Samarasinghe said
the Sri Lankan government took a stand that it will not accept such a
resolution to ensure that a bad precedent is not established by this
Council. "The way in which you deal with this matter today will decide
whether or not purely parochial if not political agendas are removed
from the promotion or perception of human rights permitted to prevail,"
he said ahead of the vote.

Referring to the report of the LLRC, he said it has been just three
months since it was submitted to the government and that the country
should be given time to act on the recommendations.

(10) After Indria votes against Sri Lanka over Tamils, UN asks India to
withdraw from Kashmir


After Sri Lanka now India in trouble, UN asks to repeal AFSPA

SATURDAY, 31 MARCH 2012 20:50

United Nations, Mar 31: It seems that after Sri Lanka, now India has
fallen in the hawk eyes of United Nations and the country (India) may
face similar situation like Sri Lanka if it (India) does not follow the
instruction given by the UN.

Emphasising on the democracy prevailing in the nation, the UN on
Saturday, Mar 31 asked India to repeal the controversial Armed Forces
Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which empowers Indian military and soldiers
to tackle militants with massive power in the terror dominated region in
the country, especially in Kashmir and the North-East states of India.

"Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has become a 'symbol of excessive
state power' and 'has no role to play in a democracy'," said Christof
Heyns, UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial.

Heyns, stating about his experience in Kashmir, said, "During my visit
to Kashmir, AFSPA was described to me as 'hated' and 'draconian'. It
clearly violates International Law. A number of UN treaty bodies have
pronounced it to be in violation of International Law as well."

"The main finding in my report is that despite constitutional guarantees
and robust human rights jurisprudence, extrajudicial killings continue
in India and it is a matter of serious concern," Heyns continued as
informing about his report.

"India also should ratify a number of international treaties, including
the Convention Against Torture and the International Convention for the
Protection of All persons from Enforced Disappearance," the official added.

However, it seems that finally Irom Sharmila's voice reached UN.
Sharmila had her last voluntary meal on Nov 4, 2000. She started her
agitation to repeal the AFSPA which gives power and rights to Indian
soldiers and military to arrest suspected militants without a warrant
and to shoot anyone suspected of being a rebel.

Citing the current situation of India, Sri Lanka might be overwhelmed as
India recently cast its vote against Sri Lanka over a US moved UN

India is one among the 24 nations who cast vote to pressurise Sri Lanka
to start an investigation over their alleged war crimes on the LTTE
cadres during the 26-year-old civil war.

(11) UN asks India to withdraw its forces from occupied Kashmir


New Delhi: The United Nations on Saturday asked India to repeal the
controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, saying it had no role
to play in a democracy.

This comes amid clamor for withdrawal of AFSPA from Indian held Kashmir,
Indian media reported.

A United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Saturday urged India to repeal
the controversial law that gives its military special powers to act in
troubled areas. Christof Heyns, UN’s Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told reporters here that
the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has become a "symbol of excessive
state power" and "has no role to play in a democracy".

His comments came after the conclusion of his 12-day fact-finding
mission to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions in India.

"During my visit to Kashmir, AFSPA was described to me as ’hated’ and
’draconian’. It clearly violates International Law. A number of UN
treaty bodies have pronounced it to be in violation of International Law
as well," said Heynes.

Accountability is circumvented by invoking AFSPA’s requirement of
obtaining prior sanction from the Central government before any civil
prosecutions can be initiated against armed forces personnel, he said,
quoting the report. "Information received through RTI applications show
that this immunity provision effectively blocks any prosecution of
members of the armed forces," he added, recommending immediate repeal of
the law.

As part of his fact-finding mission Heyns visited Gujarat, Kerala, Jammu
and Kashmir, Assam and West Bengal and met secretaries of various
ministries, police officers, human rights activists and other officials
in these states.

The UN Special Rapporteur’s final conclusions and recommendations will
be submitted as a comprehensive report to the Human Rights Council at a
future session in 2013.

"The main finding in my report is that despite constitutional guarantees
and robust human rights jurisprudence, extrajudicial killings continue
in India and it is a matter of serious concern," Heyns said.

Salutary guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, many of which have
been incorporated through amendments in the Code of Criminal procedure
are not sufficiently complied with, he claimed.

Prevalence of communal violence, encounter killings, custodial deaths,
’honour’ killings and plight of dalits and adivasis are other areas of
concern mentioned in the report. In the report, Heyns proposed a number
of provisional steps to be taken to address these concerns, including
the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, consisting of respected
lawyers and other community leaders.

"India also should ratify a number of international treaties, including
the Convention Against Torture and the International Convention for the
Protection of All persons from Enforced Disappearance," he said.

Heyns’ visit is the first mission to India by an expert mandated by the
UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on extrajudicial, summary
or arbitrary executions.

(12) Russia, China, Cuba & Asian states vote Against, brand the
resolution interference in Sri Lankan affairs


Rights Body Passes Measure on Sri Lanka


Published: March 22, 2012

GENEVA — A U.S. initiative calling the Sri Lankan government to account
for the loss of civilian life at the end of its civil war three years
ago has won support from a clear majority of the U.N. Human Rights
Council in the face of an exhaustive government campaign to block it.

The 47 members of the Council, which is based in Geneva, voted 24 to 15,
with 8 abstentions, in favor of a resolution urging Sri Lanka to
implement the recommendations of the commission it had appointed to
investigate events at the end of its civil war in 2009 and to start a
credible process of accounting for the heavy loss of life that occurred.

A U.N. panel reported last year that as many as 40,000 people might have
died in the closing stages of the 26-year war against Tamil Tiger
separatists, many as a result of government shelling of areas crowded
with civilians. The panel said it had found credible evidence that both
sides in the conflict committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The resolution will keep the issue on the Council’s agenda by requiring
the U.N. high commissioner for human rights to report back in one year
on the action taken to follow up on these recommendations.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement that the
international community had “sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will
only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability.”

Russia, China and Cuba, joined by a number of Asian states, criticized
the resolution as unwarranted interference in Sri Lankan affairs, but in
a notable departure from its previous voting record in the Council,
India gave its support.

Sri Lanka’s special envoy on human rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe,
condemned the resolution. ...

(13) Vote re-opens divisions; West handicapped the Sri Lanka gov't in
Tamil Tiger war, would have prolonged it



March 22, 2012, 12:25 p.m. ET

The U.N. Versus Sri Lanka

Today the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted in favor of
a U.S.-backed resolution on alleged war crimes and rights abuses in Sri
Lanka's 25-year civil war, which ended in 2009. The resolution
innocuously urges Sri Lanka to carry out the recommendations of its own
Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. But it also calls for an
investigation into allegations not covered by the commission, which only
risks reopening sectarian divisions. The U.N. and foreign governments
would do more good by focusing on current policies, leaving a thorough
accounting of the war years for when there is a solid consensus for such
a process within the country.

Sri Lanka's civil war killed more than 70,000 people and left hundreds
of thousands displaced. The Buddhist Sinhalese majority, led by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, eventually defeated the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other militant groups fighting for an
independent homeland for the largely Hindu Tamil minority in the north
and east of the country.

The LTTE was among the world's most vicious terrorist organizations. It
pioneered modern suicide bombing as a war tactic and carried out
hundreds of such attacks. It also forcibly recruited thousands of child
soldiers and used human shields to escape army shelling.

Throughout the conflict, Western governments repeatedly handicapped Mr.
Rajapaksa, pressuring him to agree to ceasefires the LTTE had no
intention or record of keeping. In the end it was the president's
ruthless pursuit of the LTTE, over Western objections, that saved lives
and prevented even more suffering by bringing an end to the war. No
wonder that today the United Nations has so little credibility with the
Sinhalese population.

After the war, however, Mr. Rajapaksa failed to reintegrate Tamils
economically and politically into Sri Lanka. Human rights groups report
that the harsh tactics used against government critics during the war
have continued in the post-war period, including allegations of forced
disappearances and extrajudicial executions.

According to an International Crisis Group report released last week,
"some 75,000 Tamil-speaking Muslims expelled from the north…now grown to
as many as 200,000, remain displaced from their homes." Tamil areas,
meanwhile, are under military rule, with "tens of thousands of soldiers
and hundreds of checkpoints and camps" used to monitor the population,
so post-war economic reforms have brought little benefit. It's no wonder
then that ethnic tensions remain high years after the war's official end.

The UNHRC resolution threatens to feed the fire. More than 10,000 Sri
Lankans have joined pro-government rallies against it, a wave Mr.
Rajapaksa is only too happy to ride. Meanwhile, Tamil lawmakers are
urging the UNHRC to step up the pressure on Colombo.

Sri Lanka isn't ready for a blame game over a long war in which both
sides were accused of abuses. The country's most pressing need is not a
U.N. resolution, it is to win the post-war peace.

One opposition Sinhalese lawmaker told us international pressure is
counterproductive to the opposition's efforts to get the government to
implement what has been recommended. Only once Mr. Rajapaksa or his
successor begins to take seriously the task of reconciling with the
Tamils and establishing an inclusive democracy can Sri Lanka conduct a
thorough accounting of its past, in peace.

(14) Bahrain medics Show Trial not a Human Rights issue

Ken Freeland <diogenesquest@gmail.com> 27 March 2012 08:39

Bahrain medics Show Trial: This is not Syria, therefore no Western Outcry

By Finian Cunningham
Global Research, March 22, 2012


Bahrain’s disgraceful show trial of medical staff is set to continue,
with news this week that 20 doctors and nurses are to be retried in a
civilian court on trumped-up charges of subversion against the US-backed

The medics were already sentenced by a military tribunal (a military
tribunal!) to up to 15 years in prison after months of being held in
illegal detention, denied legal counsel and subjected to torture.

Moving their case to a civilian court is presumably meant to signal a
concession by the regime. But what it illustrates is that the Al Khalifa
royal rulers of Bahrain are unreconstructed despots who are implacably
set against accepting any kind of democratic reform.

The persecution of the majority Shia population – 70 per cent of the
island – by an unelected Sunni elite is business as usual as epitomized
by the vindictive targeting of medics whose only “crime” was that they
treated hundreds of people injured in the state’s brutal crackdown
against the pro-democracy movement.

Recently, Washington has been doing its PR best to present the monarchy
in the Persian Gulf kingdom as being belatedly open to reform – this
after a year of unrelenting repression against a largely peaceful
pro-democracy uprising.

Bahraini grassroots activists are concerned that sections of the
official opposition belonging to the Shia Al Wefaq political society are
being groomed by the US State Department to accept a “compromise deal”
with the royal rulers that would effectively see the monarchy remaining
in power and the status quo merely being given a facelift.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has been praised in the US corporate media
for overseeing “brave” moves towards political power-sharing and
dialogue with the mainly Shia-led opposition.

Washington’s envoy on human rights Michael Posner and former national
security advisor Elliott Abrams have talked up “important steps” by the
Bahraini regime towards reform.

However, no amount of Washington spinning can conceal the facts of life:
that the US-backed Bahraini regime will continue violating human rights
and international law in order to maintain its stranglehold hold on
political and economic power at the expense of the Shia majority.

For 280 years, the Sunni rulers, who invaded the country from
neighbouring Qatar, have sat on the chests of the indigenous Shia, and
they are not going to give up their privileged seats of comfort. The Al
Khalifa dynasty has enriched itself through graft and corruption while
the majority of Bahrainis struggle with unemployment and poverty.

The oil wealth of the tiny island has lined the pockets of the Al
Khalifas, but for the ordinary Shia it has brought poverty, pollution
and sickness. To add insult to injury, when the mainly Shia-led uprising
last February peacefully demanded elected government to replace the
unelected venal family dynasty, it was met with batons, bullets and
brutality, with thousands incarcerated or fired from their jobs, several
tortured to death while in prison.

Historically, to maintain this excruciating state of inequality, the
Bahraini rulers developed a system of governance and state security
apparatus that is “bullet-proof to reform”. Under American and British
tutelage, the Bahraini rulers became adept at presenting the kingdom as
a relatively benign monarchy. They may have acquired the modern
semantics and appearance of political progressivism, such as referring
to the kingdom as a constitutional monarchy with a (rigged) parliament
instead of an absolute monarchy as in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the
other Gulf sheikhdoms. But not far below the surface, Bahrain’s
institutionalized despotism was always the dominant reality.

For example, the kingdom’s prime minister is 78-year-old Prince Khalifa
Al Khalifa, the uncle of the incumbent king. He is the world’s longest
sitting prime minister, having first occupied the post in 1971 when
Bahrain gained nominal independence from Britain. Prime Minister Khalifa
– also known locally as Mr Fifty-Fifty – has never faced an electorate
and is notorious for siphoning off Bahrain’s oil wealth to become one of
the richest men in the world.

For decades, despite glamorous images of mirrored skyscrapers and
Formula One Grand Prix, Bahrain has been run with an ironclad National
Security Agency. The agency was, and is, a veritable “torture apparatus”
headed up by members of the royal family and assisted in its nefarious
conduct by ex-colonial power Britain.

Between 1968-98, the main architect of the NSA and its sectarian methods
of repression against the Shia population was British colonel Sir Ian
Henderson. Henderson, who had previously gained British government
commendation for his role in efficiently, that is brutally, suppressing
the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya during the 1950s-60s, oversaw the detention
and torture of thousands of Bahrainis held for years without trial in
the dungeons of Bahrain.

Former detainees told Global Research that one of Henderson’s sadistic
methods of interrogation was to force them to sit naked on upright glass
bottles, the necks of which had been roughly broken off to leave
protruding jagged points. The detainees told how Henderson personally
oversaw the torture of inmates.

Today, the British influence on Bahrain’s NSA continues. One of
Bahrain’s senior police chiefs is Briton John Yates, formerly of
Scotland Yard; another senior police chief is American John Timoney, who
formerly ran the force in Miami, Florida. Both men have reputations of
corruption and brutality from their previous commands.

Bahrain’s institutionalized despotism under a family dynasty is backed
up with a military and police force whose ranks are filled by foreign
expatriate Sunnis recruited from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and
Jordan. The regime forces serve their Sunni masters with a vicious
hatred towards the Shia population.

This fact is attested by the daily and nightly attacks on Shia villages
by Saudi-backed regime forces, with massive amounts of tear gas fired
into streets and homes. At least 25 people have died from suffocation
with tear gas over the past year since Saudi-led forces invaded Bahrain
to crush the uprising. The victims range from a five-day-old baby girl
to elderly men and women who are too weak or infirmed to escape from
their smoke-filled homes.

In the past week, mourners attending the funerals for two men who died
from tear gas exposure were themselves attacked by riot police who
proceeded to fire more tear gas.

So, on the one hand, we see the Bahraini rulers wearing a velvet glove
offering “dialogue” and “reforms”, with Washington and London providing
the positive-sounding script; while on the other hand, what is felt is
an iron-fist smashing down the doors of homes, firing tear gas into
houses, dragging suspects away in the middle of the night, detaining
them without trial and torturing to death.

And this is all happening in a supposed new era of reformism and
dialogue in Bahrain that Washington assures is underway.

The continued persecution of the Bahraini medics is another fact on the
ground to demonstrate the despotic nature of Washington and London’s
“important ally” in the Persian Gulf.

The medics were sentenced for up to 15 years by a military court last
September on a range of outlandish charges, including “attempting to
overthrow the government” and “spreading defamatory information” about
the royal rulers.

That verdict caused international protests from human rights groups, who
denounced it as a travesty of legal procedure, not least because the
sole basis for the prosecution were the confessions of the defendants –
confessions that were obtained under torture.

Then, as now, the response from Washington and other Western governments
and media was muted.

The medics include world-renowned surgeons Ali Al Ekri and Ghassan Dhaif
and his wife, Zahra, and brother and sister, Bassim and Nada. Also
sentenced was Rula Al Suffar, the former head of Bahrain’s Nursing
Society. These are individuals of impeccable medical professionalism and
ethics, who refused to close the doors of Bahrain’s main public
hospital, Al Salmaniya, when the regime began butchering protesters last
February-March. Global Research can bear witness to the dedication of
these medics and countless others who struggled in the wards and
corridors of the hospital to patch people up with the most horrendous
wounds as wave after wave of injured were ferried in.

Dr Al Ekri was assaulted while performing surgery and hauled into
detention by Saudi-backed forces who had smashed their way into
Salmaniya Hospital – a crime against humanity, just one of many
following the Saudi-led invasion of Bahrain that was given the green
light by Washington and London.

There was a faint sign that Washington’s recent talk of progress and
reform in Bahrain may have somehow sent the hint to its favoured despots
to quietly drop the embarrassing show trial against the medics. But with
the continuance of the prosecution – albeit in a civilian court instead
of a military tribunal – it seems that institutionalized barbarism
cannot overcome its tyrannical instincts for power, even at the behest
of its more PR-savvy patron in Washington.

One can only imagine the sanctimonious mouth-foaming reaction by
Washington, London and the corporate media if such a travesty was
perpetrated against medics in Syria.

But Bahrain is not Syria; it is an ally, therefore Western governments
and media suddenly develop blindness and speech impediment in the face
of blatant crimes against humanity.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa

(15) U.N. cancels appearance by Hamas leader in Geneva

ReporterNotebook <RePorterNoteBook@gmail.com> 21 March 2012 13:37


U.N. cancels appearance by Hamas leader in Geneva

March 19, 2012

(JTA) -- The United Nations canceled an appearance by a Hamas leader at
the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The cancellation Monday of an appearance by Ismail al-Ashqar, a senior
official with Hamas, followed an official complaint filed with U.N.
officials by Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar. Also, Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the appearance in a statement
following an attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

Al-Ashqar was barred from entering the Human Rights Council meeting and
was asked to leave the U.N. compound in Geneva, according to Haaretz.

"I haven’t heard yet a condemnation from any of the U.N .bodies, but I
have heard that one such body, the U.N. Human Rights Council, invited on
this very day a senior representative of Hamas," Netanyahu had said
prior to the U.N. canceling the appearance. "On this day when we had the
savage murder, they chose to invite a member of Hamas."

Netanyahu said that al-Ashqar had condemned the United States for
killing al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, "and he represents an
organization that indiscriminately targets children and grownups, and
women and men. Innocents is their special favorite target.

"So I have one thing to say to the U.N. Human Rights Council: What do
you have to do with human rights?" the Israeli leader said. "You should
be ashamed of yourselves.”

The Human Rights Council on Monday as part of its 19th session was
scheduled to consider five resolutions on Israel and the Palestinians,
including four resolutions submitted by Palestine though no such state
exists, The Jerusalem Post reported.

One resolution asks the council to appoint an international fact-finding
committee to investigate West Bank settlements and their impact on
Palestinian life.

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